Wednesday, January 7, 2009

One Leader Understands: Vaclav Klaus

It's a perpetual puzzle why, out of the thousands of decent, highly educated men and women around the world, there should be only one well-known political leader who sees things rightly. But, thankfully, there is that one: Vaclav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic.
The economic crisis should be regarded as an unavoidable consequence and hence a “just” price we have to pay for immodest and over-confident politicians playing with the market. Their attempts to blame the market, instead of blaming themselves, are unacceptable and should be resolutely rejected. The Czech government will – hopefully – not push the world and Europe into more regulation, nationalisation, de-liberalisation and protectionism. Our historical experience gives us a very strong warning in this respect.
Aggregate demand needs strengthening. One traditional way to do this is to increase government expenditures, probably in public infrastructure projects, on condition these are available. It would be much more helpful, however, to have a great reduction in all kinds of restrictions on private initiatives introduced in the last half a century during the era of the brave new world of the “social and ecological market economy”. The best thing to do now would be temporarily to weaken, if not repeal, various labour, environmental, social, health and other “standards”, because they block rational human activity more than anything else.
Our historical experience gives us a clear instruction: we always need more of markets and less of government intervention. We also know that government failure is more costly than market failure.
Consistently on the side of reason and freedom, Klaus continues to give fits to the Greens, the Reds, and every other putrid anti-liberty color around the world. This year he assumes the rotating presidency of the EU. Would that our own Presidents had half his wisdom.

I'm not fond of the idea of leaders, in general. Those who need them tend to be the kind of uncritical, passive persons who encourage those who lust for authority, which describes nearly all leaders. But, for Klaus, I'm willing to make an exception. It's the only time I've ever regretted the inclusion of the 'natural born' clause of Article II in the Constitution.

Thank you, Mr. Klaus.

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